Dealing with Criticism on Social Media
Social media has become a powerful tool for connecting with customers and potential customers. The conversation that takes place there can have a big impact on your company’s image and reputation. Therefore, when you experience criticism on any of your social media networks – whether on your own profile or on the profile of another user – it is important to respond appropriately to make sure that you maintain the image you want and don’t lose any future sales.
Dealing with criticism on social media is both an art and a skill. Here are a few tips for what to do when you experience criticism on your social networks:
While you do want to ensure that you give the right response, you don’t want to take too long to formulate it. Allowing a criticism to go unacknowledged can make you look like you are admitting guilt or like you don’t care. Your customers will fill the silence with their own interpretation of the situation, and it may or may not be in your favor. Make sure you shape the conversation by responding quickly.
Acknowledge the Complaint
Avoid arguing or debating the circumstances. It will only make you look defensive and combative. Simply acknowledge the situation and acknowledge what is making the customer upset. You don’t have to admit mistake, but you should not try to prove that you didn’t make a mistake either. Remember: The customer is always right – even if you don’t think they are.
Offer a Sincere Apology
Whether you made a mistake or not, apologize. If you did not make a mistake, your apology may address the miscommunication or other circumstance that led to the problem. If you did make a mistake, simply admit it and apologize for it. You don’t have to be perfect to win your customers’ trust and respect. Taking accountability for yourself and doing what you need to do to make the situation right will earn their trust and respect.
Be Yourself When Responding
Many companies hide behind formal and stilted language when dealing with criticisms in a public forum. However, this will make customers think that you are not sincere in your apology and that you are distancing yourself from the problem. Use your own language when responding. Inject a little levity where appropriate. Sign off with your own name. Make it personal, and it will feel more sincere.
Take the Conversation Offline
While you need to address the criticism publicly – since it was made publicly – it’s best to take the conversation offline after the initial acknowledgment and apology. You don’t want to give the customer the opportunity to continue expressing frustration and anger publicly, making the situation worse for you. Respond publicly, then send the person a private message. If you have a phone number, give the person a call. A lot gets lost in translation in e-mail, so speaking in person will make communication easier.
Criticism on social media is inevitable, even for a small company. The key is not to avoid it, but to know how to address it appropriately. If you can deal with criticism in the right way, you can make your company look more professional and trustworthy and win new clients.
How do you deal with criticism on social media? Share your tips in the comments!
Chloe Trogden is a seasoned financial aid writer who covers specific opportunities such as educational scholarships. Her leisure activities include camping, swimming and playing her guitar.